Skip to comments.John Derbyshire: Racial Heretic
Posted on 04/07/2012 6:46:31 AM PDT by Motherhood IS a career
John Derbyshire has set off a mini firestorm by responding to an article which details advice that black parents give their kids about coping with "White America", by giving advice to his own kids about coping with black America. And imagine White America's collective shock... he has been denounced for it as being racist. (actually I think it's ... "RACIST!!!")
Racism, as we know, is the ultimate liberal heresy. There are difference between black (ethno-African) Americans, and White (European) Americans which are obvious at a distance. And there are dramatic difference between the sub culture of Black America and the many Sub Cultures of white America. But secular liberalism, our religion of state, is based almost entirely on un-knowing things that are obvious. And noticing the differences between White and Black America is strictly off limits.
That something is obviously true is totally irrelevant to the discussion. If you call attention to one of these unutterable facts you will be shunned. And since John Derbyshire has done that very thing, there are already those out there demanding his head on a plate. But it seems to me that it isn't just what John said in his piece that's causing an uproar - it's his tone as well. He's too 'matter of fact' about it. He states facts as if they are ... well... facts. He doesn't kowtow to the liberal establishment by stating how sorry he is to call attention to the points he raises - he just raises them. This, I suspect, is what's really getting under people's skin.
I think it's probably pointless to say this, in that it won't change anyone's mind about anything, but since John is my friend I'll go ahead and do it anyway. Like most of us, there are a great many things John cares about. He cares about his family of course and his home life. He cares about the fate of America, and the future world that his children will inherit. He cares about his dog, and his friends, and all the small things that we all value. But what he does not care about - not a whit as far as I have ever been able to tell, is race.
And that's mainly because there is something else that John cares about. He cares about the objective truth. He wants his personal view of the universe to be as accurate and verifiable as is humanly possible given the limits on his intelligence and his time. He wants his understanding of the world to be correct, in the same way that any scientist wants it. This gives his writing what I have referred to many times in the past as a "logical irreducibility." He boils down society and politics to its principle components, the same way that a mathematician would when analyzing a data set. The same way I often do in my work when examining the markets.
And that's the thing that I believe has really rattled the liberal cages. John has said things about race, which are objectively verifiable and absolutely true - but it is part of the liberal religion to never admit them. I'm not going to slice and dice too much. I'm quite sure there is no secret code in John's words. But I do think it serves a useful purpose to provide a few examples from his piece in takimag.
For instance, when he said :
The default principle in everyday personal encounters is, that as a fellow citizen, with the same rights and obligations as yourself, any individual black is entitled to the same courtesies you would extend to a nonblack citizen. That is basic good manners and good citizenship. In some unusual circumstances, howevere.g., paragraph (10h) belowthis default principle should be overridden by considerations of personal safety.
While the latter point about personal safety may leave a few more feeble liberals with the a sudden case of the vapors, (as will his reference to a "black" and not a "black American" or one of the more liberally appropriate monikers) I don't think anyone in the liberal intelligencia is too horrified by this obviously true statement. It's controversial, but not specifically heretical to the liberal religion. The very same can be said of his statement:
As with any population of such a size, there is great variation among blacks in every human trait (except, obviously, the trait of identifying oneself as black). They come fat, thin, tall, short, dumb, smart, introverted, extroverted, honest, crooked, athletic, sedentary, fastidious, sloppy, amiable, and obnoxious. There are black geniuses and black morons. There are black saints and black psychopaths. In a population of forty million, you will find almost any human type. Only at the far, far extremes of certain traits are there absences. There are, for example, no black Fields Medal winners. While this is civilizationally consequential, it will not likely ever be important to you personally. Most people live and die without ever meeting (or wishing to meet) a Fields Medal winner.
Every word of that is absolutely true in the strictest, most objectively verifiable sense of the word, especially the part about never wishing to meet a fields medal winner. And yet, there is something in the matter of fact tone that leaves your personal radar, finely honed after years of Al Sharpton being treated like a serious thinker, sending up a 'yellow alert'. You can almost see the liberal high priests stepping out from behind altar and calling the grand inquisitors over to listen to the rest.
Then John says a few things in public that every single white person in America already knows (including liberal America) but to my knowledge no one has ever said before in public. He basically tells his kids that if it can be reasonably avoided, they should stay out of black neighborhoods. Liberals will say "that's terrible" and then find a way to communicate the same idea to their children without specifically saying so (and will continue to avoid those neighborhoods themselves). But encouraging self segregation is definitely considered over the line to the liberal high priests. It's an open heresy.
But even so, given the tone of the day and the broader conversation currently ongoing about race relations with regard to the Trayvon Martin shooting, it might have been more or less forgiven but for what he comes right out and says next.
On page 2 of John's takimag piece, he performs the modern day equivalent of storming into the Vatican and declaring that the earth revolves around the sun. He calls direct attention to the following completely true, objectively verifiable and totally inescapable fact:
The mean intelligence of blacks is much lower than for whites. The least intelligent ten percent of whites have IQs below 81; forty percent of blacks have IQs that low. Only one black in six is more intelligent than the average white; five whites out of six are more intelligent than the average black. These differences show in every test of general cognitive ability that anyone, of any race or nationality, has yet been able to devise.
This is an unspeakable thing to liberals. It's a direct and public acknowledgement of the central fact that they insist on un-knowing in all their dealings with black America. It's like holding a globally televised black mass in the Sistine chapel, or using a burning Koran to fry bacon before forcibly feeding it to the high mullah of Mecca. It's such a grand heresy that they cannot even refer to it directly while demanding that John be publicly burned as a racist ("RACIST!!!") for saying it. Liberals regard this point with such overt hostility, that it's entirely possible that in spite of all my writing on the topic of race, I will very likely be called a racist ("RACIST!!!") simply for mentioning it.
Is it true? Obviously yes. But that's not the point. In order for liberal fantasies about the virtue of "equality of outcomes" to be valid, it must be treated as untrue. And John isn't doing that. Keep in mind, when a liberal reads that paragraph they don't read unassailable facts. They read it as John Derbyshire stating his "opinion" that black people are inherently inferior to white people. To anyone who can read this without jumping to their own conclusions, this is obviously not the case. All he's done is pointed out a statistical fact. But liberals won't be able to see that for what it is. They can't help imposing their own value judgments over John's empirical evidence.
National Review's Rich Lowry, political creature that he is, is distancing himself and his magazine from John's piece. I personally think that's a mistake. Didn't Eric Holder say that we should begin having "An honest conversation" on race? Doesn't National Review believe that objectively verifiable and totally inescapable facts should be a part of that conversation?
In truth they probably do yes. But they may be making the tactical political decision that you can't win the argument if you aren't invited to the table. That's conjecture of course, I have no inside data on the decision makers at NR. But it would make some sense to me if they felt that way. And while they may have publicly denounced him, I don't believe they'll take liberal demands for John's head very seriously. Respecting the people I know there as I do, I have to believe they are smart enough to understand the value of the heretic, even if they don't want to participate directly in the heresy itself.
They've done it before - but I think it's clear to any fair minded person that John is more interested in discussing the truth in a compelling and thought provoking way than he is about "diminishing black people" or whatever the liberal fantasy is about his piece. In real life John Derbyshire isn't a racist in the liberal definition of the word. And surely that matters to the editors at National Review - who have not been free of baseless racism accusations themselves.
On the topic of race, John has elected to be the ultimate Heretic. By stepping forward and saying things that are totally forbidden to utter in liberal America but are none the less objectively verifiable as true, John has shown precisely the kind of courage I've come to expect from him. Certainly more than most of us (including me) could ever demonstrate. And it's one of the many reasons I'm proud to call him my friend. Even if you don't agree with him you have to admit that it was a very brave thing to come right out and say.
The truth is very much on his side of course, as it often is with heretics - especially when a religion has become as stunted and misshapen as modern liberalism has become. But the fact that he's speaking the truth may not stop them from burning him (or at least his career). What he's said is very controversial both in tone and content. Less so I think than the Black Panther's who put a price on the head of an innocent man. But it's liberals who run our grand inquisitors office, and they will decide who starts the fires and who is tossed into them.
The problem is that Derbyshire did make the argument in a rational sober tone. No matter how much the message is sugarcoated, the Left and their dog robbers in the Republican party will cry r-r-racist! Self censoring to avoid hurt feelings is just one of the effeminate intellectual shackles that Marxism has foisted on public debate.
People, with few exception are extremely maladapt at probabilistic thinking. A lack of intelligence doesn’t make anyone a bad person. But chances are they will be extremely poor decision makers, have lower inhibitions, poor impulse control, etc. Derbyshire did not say that Blacks are stupid, corrupt, corrupt, and to be avoided. He said that a significant number were stupider, more corrupt, and more dangerous than the national (non-black) mean and those to be avoided. People have the freedom of association and there are plenty of non-black individuals I would write off ever interacting with. It just so happens to be that there are plenty more blacks on that list (Disparate Impact!). Why take the risk at all when the opportunity costs of avoiding it are so negligible.
John has just been fired by National Review.
In his partial defense, he has been fighting cancer and has written in recent weeks of his reactions to chemotherapy.
I suspect his judgment as to what to write was somewhat impaired by the drugs. Obviously what he wrote is what he believes, but I think in normal mental state he would be smart enough to know what happens to heretics who speak out too openly against the central dogmas of their time.
This is true whether you believe those dogmas to themselves be true or not.
“The problem is that Derbyshire did make the argument in a rational sober tone.”
No, you see, I don’t really think he did.
The tone of the piece is sneering, the crack about the Fields Medal and the instruction not to help black people are two rather glaring examples.
I grew up in NYC in the 1960s and 70s and I’m well familiar with black people, the pathological problems they create (for themselves and others), my father was a welfare case worker, I attended public schools, I’ve lived in a couple of the worst neighborhoods NY has to offer. Family members and friends have been on more than 3 occasions crime victims and yes, always by black perps. I daresay I know a at least as much, if not a good deal more about American blacks (at least those in the NY Metro area) than Mr. Derbyshire does.
To be perfectly frank I’ve searched in vain for a white pride organization that is not neo-Nazi and anti-semetic, because if I could find one, I’d join it.
But I’m sorry, I think this piece was over-the-top. I think the tone was very dehumanizing in general, especially as it is written in the guise of advice one should give their children.
For another example, I would never advise my child to make friends with someone as a prophylactic against criticism. How phony would that friendship be?
I did, in fact, tell my kid that I didn’t want her to date any black guys until she was at least 25 because I did not like what I saw as the “body language” of the black teens I saw with white girls in our town. It was very much “look at me whitey” and nothing at all about “I like this girl”.
Her response: oh ma, you don’t have to tell me that, I know just what you mean.
(FWIW I pretty much begged her on my hands & knees to never go to Mexico and I think I finally convinced her. She hasn’t gone there yet, anyway!)
I am aware, very aware, that the white race is under assault around the globe. I very much think that we need to stick up for ourselves. Absolutely white people need to have MORE CHILDREN. I regret I only had one, but such were my circumstances.
Bottom line: I think JD blew a good opportunity to tell the world how it looks from “our side” by writing with an attitude that he had to know would be inflammatory.
Or maybe he didn’t know, because he really seems to lack some comprehension of human feelings.
“He is not insulting anyone, he is merely stating facts.”
Well what’s the point about saying no black person has ever won the Fields Medal?
He had a post on NRO once, when everyone was jumping on Larry Summers about what he said about women and math/science.
I can’t remember it precisely and I’m not going to even try and look it up, but I don’t think the details are that important.
Derb basically said there have only been a few great female mathematicians. I think he said (obviously I don’t remember any names) Woman A. was definitely great, Woman B. maybe and maybe there was a C and D mentioned.
So, you know that didn’t bother me. LOL, maybe because I’m a woman, I’m pretty bad at math, and yet some brilliant man invented the calculator and enabled me to earn a very nice living as a bookkeeper (true story!).
I don’t remember if the Field Medal was mentioned in that post. But I don’t get the relevance of the Fields Medal to telling your children to be careful about black people.
Checking wikepedia just now I see that only 50 people have won the Fields Medal since 1936! I don’t think any are women, but in truth with the foreign names I’m not entirely sure.
So, what was the point of that aside in the article?
I don’t see how it can be construed as other than an insult.
At best, at very best, it was just more cheap snark.
No, Jocon307, he’s not sneering, he’s not snarky, he’s not cheap, and he’s not insulting. These, like I said before, are entirely your perceptions and your opinions. He has no tone. The tone you’re attributing to his writing is the tone that you are reading into his piece. Even though it’s simply not there.
Of course, you are entitled to your views and perceptions.
>>Derb basically said there have only been a few great female mathematicians.<<
I’m sure he’s right.
I’m a woman. I happen to be pretty good in math and science. (Not a great mathematician, by any means, however.) And I’m not offended when people say that women, on average aren’t good at math and science. Because it’s true. SO WHAT?!?
This is NOT a value judgment. Except in the mind of someone who perceives it as such.
Pretty much all Derb’s claims are subject to empirical test.
What are the risks of stopping to help a black motorist as opposed to a white one? That can be statistically measured.
Are white people at a gathering dominated by blacks more or less likely to be attacked than at a gathering dominated by whites?
Are whites (and blacks, FTM) at greater risk in black neighborhoods? Black skin is, of course, only a surrogate for measurement of criminality, but everyone knows it is a very good surrogate.
John claims dealing with black staff at a government office is slower and more frustrating than dealing with white staff. This is an objective issue subject to measurement.
I have myself noticed that the line with a black checker seems to move on average more slowly than the one with a white checker. Is this accurate? I have no idea, but it could certainly be measured.
Denny’s and others have gotten in legal trouble because of staff unwillingness to wait on black patrons, due to a perception that black patrons are more demanding and less remunerative. Here is something that could be very easily measured and disproven. With all the denunciation of the waiters, nobody does such a study. Because they know it will confirm and quantify the perception. And we can’t have that bit of truth brought to light.
I have had black taxi drivers tell me they won’t pick up young black riders at night. Period. I once waited an hour for a taxi at a convenience store in a black neighborhood I had unintentionally walked into at night. Finally had to call the company and tell them to look for the white guy. Cab arrived two minutes later. Black driver. Said those who wanted him to not discriminate in this way could pick up the black riders themselves.
All I know is that attempts to deny reality and force others to do the same seldom end well.
Well, all of these things could be measured although in some cases it might be difficult to set up control groups, etc.
What I’ve been saying is that despite the demonstrable truth of the things that Derb said it seems he went out of his way to say them as offensively as possible.
So, the message:
that whites fear, or should fear, associating with blacks
that this is for good reason and
that there isn’t much one can do about that except avoid black people as much as reasonably possible
is going to get lost in all the outrageous outrage that he had to know his article would provoke.
Many of the comments on the various threads here provide a contrast. Yours is a good example of how these same unfortunate facts (let’s just call them facts because I don’t think anyone who has lived in a mixed race city at least would dispute them regardless of any statistical proof that may be lacking at this time) can be stated in a less inflammatory way.
And, at the risk of repeating myself some of what he wrote was really just needless. The bit about no blacks winning the Fields Medal (only 50 people have ever won it!), the idea that you should seek out some high end black friends, even dragging your teenage children into such a rant in the first place, stuff like that takes away from whatever serious points you are trying to make.
If he was trying to be serious and not, you know, just seeking to get a rise out of people. Which he certainly did.
Rich Lowry fired him, but I’m pretty sure both his kids probably want to strangle him right now!
That’s what struck me first. He just made life very difficult for his kids. This story will live forever in cyberspace.
In his partial defense, he has written several times in recent weeks of his fight against cancer and the odd effects some of the drugs have had on him. IMO the drugs may very well have blurred his judgment of what was appropriate to say and what was needlessly offensive. His role on NRO has often been to get a rise out of people.
He isn’t really like that, most of the time. Although he’s become an atheist, he still shows respect for people who are believers, unlike so many.
He got into a major kerfuffle a few years back for stating that he finds male homosexuality disgusting and that most people have throughout human history. As with (most of) this screed, those are I think objective facts
Despite major disagreements, I generally enjoyed his articles. It’s all very sad.
BTW. Taki magazine, where this was published, leans towards racist and anti-semitic stuff, especially in the comments. There is a difference between facing reality squarely and true racism. John was still (mostly) on the realist side in this essay, but plenty of his readers at Taki had gone far beyond it.
As always, this will be used to try to tamp the recognition of reality back down for a while. But it will eventually escape. It always does.
My general response to pieces like this is: Lend me an editor!
I did poke around a bit over there, and they do seem to be high on the snark scale. I didn’t see anything like you mention, but I don’t doubt what you say.
I looked at the comments but the way they display them is dreadful. Every reply gets narrower and narrower and with a piece like this that’s getting hundreds of responses they quickly became just visually unreadable.
Prejudice is another word for generalization. We all make generalizations, adopt “stereotypes” as working models, because they work, give a generally accurate picture of the real world and they allows us to make useful decisions.
2012 racism = 1600’s witchcraft
Liberalism completely controls the dialogue and government in the country. You will speak proper thought or else...
And then some deride those "stereotypes" precisely BECAUSE they paint an accurate picture, but a picture which violates the impression that is to be promoted.
In the case of the Left, the promoted narrative is that we are all a product of our environments, that there is no genetic component to who we are. The reason for this narrative is that one of the Left's articles of faith is that humans are perfectible, that given the right environment and education anyone can be turned into the Perfect Leftist Person.
What, do you take stupid pills?
Yes, "to try". I think the raciss media lynching of George Zimmerman pretty much tears it.
We can be assured that Obama's campaign team of CBSNBCABCCNN will start race riots if they can.
"Dick" Holder would federally prosecute NBC if there was any honesty in Washington, District of Clowns.
Great article dissecting "The Narrative" and dweebs like Rich Lowry.
"The public scolding that National Review and other mainstream conservatives bestowed on John Derbyshire is absolutely despicable. They value the Narrative over honest debate and inquiry into whether or not Derbyshire's article was factually correct or not."
Well, J, let me ask you this, all empirical tests set aside for a moment. Since you’re so objective, would you — who begged your daughter not to go to Mexico — advise her to go hang out in Harlem, with a group of her white friends, after the sun goes down? If she was inclined to do that, would you have any feelings about that whatsoever? Or are you just a tad afraid that as a white girl, she’d be slightly more prone to harassment than a black girl her age? Just askin’...
>>What hundreds of millions of Americans intuitively understand is what they are forbidden from admitting: that blacks and browns commit crime at a disproportionate level relative to their population, that cities and neighborhoods without minorities are safer than those with them, and that it is best to avoid minorities that you don’t know personally. Everybody that has an IQ above freezing does this, whether they admit it or not. The fact that these columnists object to Derbyshire writing about warning your kids about reality is like strapping neon lights to a billboard that says: “We don’t care about the truth, we only care about towing the Party line!” <<
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